The Key to Digital Marketing Success: Starting With The Right Foundation

Whether you’re setting out to build a website to develop an online presence, starting a SEO campaign, or doing a total website makeover, you need to make sure you have the right foundation. Many business owners try to cut corners by trying to spend as little as possible on their website. It’s important to understand that like a house, your website may look fine from the outside. But if you don’t have the right foundations set up, you’ll eventually end up spending more money in the long run. In some cases, you may have to abandon it altogether.

The Illusion of a “Budget” Website and How It Can Hurt You

There are many companies that sell website development services in the range of $500 to $1000. There are even vendors that will sell website templates where all you do is replace the default text with your company name. The problem with both of these choices is that these websites are not built on good foundations. You’ll eventually have to spend extra money redoing the code, replacing the designs, changing the site structure, and updating the platform.

Why Poor Foundation is Bad for SEO

A website built on a poor foundation is guaranteed to hurt your SEO efforts. The website may look similar to all the other highly ranked websites in the search results, but you never know what’s “really under hood.” You won’t be able to tell what kinds of problems you’ll have to deal with until it’s too late. Here are a few consequences of using a website built on a poor foundation.
  • The search engines may not be able to index your site properly due to the site not being search engine friendly.
  • The site structure may make it difficult for the search engines to go through your site and find all your important pages.
  • The way your site is set up may actually lead you to being penalised by the search engines.

A Common Website Development Setup That You Need to Be Aware Of

Of course, not all companies that offer website development services in the lower range build websites on poor foundations. There are several companies that understand the importance of proper site structure, clean code and search engine compatibility. However, these $500-$1000 websites are far more expensive than you think. It may start on the low end, but they will start charging you a high cost for additions to the site, far more than would normally be charged otherwise, such as; $200 for each additional page. As your site continues to grow, you’ll find yourself spending thousands of dollars.

Why Building On a CMS Is a Smart Decision

It’s a better idea to develop a site on a CMS (content management system) rather than a standard website. A reliable CMS is search engine friendly, offers many frontend/backend customisation options, and will make managing content easy. You should also be able to add extra pages by yourself at no extra cost (but make sure you check this before you buy). While it may cost a little more upfront, you’ll end up saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on future maintenance/development costs.

Another Mistake That Business Owners Often Make

Many web development companies sell clients on the benefits of having fancy features on their site that require special functionality driven by JavaScript, Flash and other types of code scripts. However, these additional features often hurt clients more than they benefit them. Many web design/development agencies don’t seem to understand that user experience and being search engine friendly is far more important than having a fancy website. Carefully consider your market. If you are a B2B business, then it is likely your market will have faster internet connections and having some additional fancy features will be less likely to hurt your site. If you are B2C however, your target market may not only be on slower internet connections, but also viewing your website using older web browsers and technology that will not let the website operate properly.
Implementing fancy features slows down the loading time of your website. Web users tend to abandon slow loading websites at a high rate. In fact, there was a study that showed the significant impact increased loading time had on web conversions. Another consideration is the fact that Google factors in site speed as a ranking factor. That means that the longer your site takes to load, the harder it will be to get your site listed in the top results.

The Same Principles Also Apply to Mobile Web Design

Many business owners are making the same poor decisions with their mobile web design. They’re investing into mobile websites that are built on a poor foundation. The mentality that many business owners have is that their mobile website is less important than their regular website, or they simply don’t know the right questions to ask, so end up investing very little into developing a proper site. This is a big mistake.
While your main website is undeniably more important, it’s also important to understand that mobile usage is growing, which will result in more mobile web users. In fact, many websites are reflecting traffic between 20 percent to 40 percent of their total site visitors come from mobile sources. There are also many different kinds of mobile devices and as a result, user experience and user interface are two big issues when it comes to mobile site development. You need to make sure you develop a proper mobile website to address these two issues.
Another thing to add is that the search engines, especially Google, are starting to rank mobile websites separately from regular websites. Google is taking steps to penalise mobile websites that are poorly built and poorly optimized. There is no point developing a mobile website if your website can’t attain the top rankings for your targeted keywords because of how it was developed.

Invest In a Website with a Strong Foundation

In summary, you need to invest in a website that is built on a strong foundation. You need to plan for long term success rather than focus on short term savings. You can’t forget that your ability to generate an income from your website is directly connected to the quality of your website. Your site will need to be optimised for the search engines as well as for conversions. Not to mention, the “cheaper” solutions usually end up costing you more in the long run anyway. So the lesson here is to take your web design/development seriously and go with the solid choice.
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